The Garden at 485 Elm
The Garden at 485 Elm's mission is to increase food security, nutritional health, and community collaboration for residents in Montpelier, Vermont, while improving the health of the land and river where the food grows, diverting food scraps from the waste stream, and reducing the carbon footprint for producing and distributing food. The garden offers local community members access to and support for growing healthy, organic, delicious food to feed themselves and their families, and distributes food to local organizations serving community members in need through Montpelier's free community lunches and other established donation channels. Montpelier is a densely populated, hilly, shaded city where many renters and homeowners lack viable gardening space. The Garden at 485 Elm grows on a flat, sunny expanse of fertile land within walking distance of Vermont's capital city downtown, allowing most participants to walk or bike here. Because the garden is grown collectively, with all gardeners growing all crops together, the garden accommodates widely diverse ages, abilities, and aptitudes for gardening, allowing all to enjoy success with an ambitious array of crops.A primary goal is to promote and serve as a model for community projects on private properties. We aim to inspire other landowners to assess their properties for maximum community interdependence; optimization of their land for environmental preservation and habitat protection; offering service where local populations and natural systems most need it; and reduction of personal and community carbon footprint.